Spanish OPV Infanta Cristina deploys to West Africa

Spanish Navy offshore patrol vessel (OPV) ‘Infanta Cristina’ got underway from Cartagena, Spain, on Wednesday to start a four-month deployment to Western Africa.

Infanta Cristina will spend the next four months in and around the Gulf of Guinea working with regional countries as part of the Spanish Defense Diplomacy Plan.

The ship will cooperate with navies from Gulf of Guinea countries to enhance their naval capabilities, foster mutual knowledge and contribute to regional maritime security, ultimately benefiting the own security of Spain.

This deployment is intended to increase stability and maritime security in the area with several training exercises and drills. Other nations will also provide naval assets to this endeavor like the U.S., Germany, Italy, Portugal, the U.K., France, Belgium and Denmark.

The ‘Infanta Cristina’ will visit the following ports: Praia and Mindelo (Cape Verde), Nouakchott (Mauritania), Dakar (Senegal), Sekondi-Takoradi (Ghana), Duala (Cameroon), Santo Tome, Luanda (Angola), Port Gentile (Gabon) and Abidjan (Ivory Coast).

The patrol vessel, under command of Lt-Cdr. Juan Carlos Prada, was originally designed as a corvette by Navantia (formerly Bazán) in Cartagena and delivered to the Spanish Navy in 1980. In 2004, the ship was completely upgraded and turned into an offshore patrol vessel with hull number P-77.